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The transformative power of tourism




Embarking on my journey with Rewilding Rhodopes back in 2021, one of my first tasks was diving into the world of tourism and rewilding, through a training with Simon Collier and Aukje van Gerven.


Picture this: amidst the turmoil of COVID, online classes were becoming the norm, but thanks to of Simon and Aukje, those sessions were anything but dull. Their presentations ensured we were engaged form the start and the group activities were very interactive – three years later, and I am still friends with some of the fellow participants!





Naturally, I jumped at the chance to join the field trainings. It involved stepping into another rewilding landscape, where I could fine-tune my skills, soak up inspiration, and explore diverse approaches to sustainability. Meeting local entrepreneurs and witnessing their dedication to a shared vision was beyond motivating. It was proof that sustainable and locally rooted tourism isn't just a fantasy but a reality.


And let's not forget the beauty of the Central Apennines, where every spot seemed to whisper tales of community resilience and authenticity. Those trainings resembled a rich repository of ideas and were very useful for my Rhodope context. Beyond the realms of rewilding, this experience proved the transformative power that tourism can have. It showed that by harnessing local resources, we can breathe life into forgotten communities and revitalise entire regions.


But none of this would have been possible without the guidance of Simon and Aukje. Their passion and expertise transformed a training programme into a life-changing experience.





This is a blog that Polihron Karapachov has written for MOYO Training Foundation.


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